Review of 'The Americans' 6.2

by Paul Levinson about a year ago in tv review


Review of 'The Americans' 6.2

I thought The Americans 6.2 was rather pro forma, even lackluster, until the very end, which was...brutal.

That's the latest chapter in the eduction of Paige. The brains of an American general all over her mother's face. And Paige doesn't know the worst of it. The coming attractions confirm that the general didn't take his own life. Elizabeth pulled the trigger.

Otherwise, what this episode had going for it was a disquisition on art. It comes in two forms. Tchaikovsky (the title of this episode), beloved by Claudia, plays in her office. And a dying artist gets Elizabeth, against her inclinations, to do a little sketching herself -- just of the dark part.

The Americans has reached the stage where metaphor and reality are increasingly the same. Elizabeth doesn't need to be instructed to look at the dark part in her life. That's increasingly all she sees, what she does and what she is. Tchaikovsky is moving, but he's not a Soviet composer. He's a product of an earlier culture that was more free. Claudia's love of his music reflects her yearning for an earlier time, that was less complicated.

But this earlier time for Claudia was not really Tchaikovsky's, but the time of the Soviet Union at its height. And as we look back on the Reagan-era from our vantage point in 2018, the era in which The Americans is playing out, we know that this time is rapidly dwindling.

And that leads to the most brutal truth of all: what Elizabeth is doing, all her machinations and assassinations, will lead to naught. They're futile. But they're still one wallop of a powerful story. And I'll be back with views on the next installment next week.

tv review
How does it work?
Read next: New Mexico—It's like a State, like All the Others!
Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code (winner Locus Award, Best 1st Science Fiction Novel of 1999) & The Plot To Save Socrates. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context has been translated into 15 languages. 

See all posts by Paul Levinson